Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Airline chief defends crash pilots

People passing a Manx2 poster at George Best Belfast City Airport

The chairman of Manx2.com has defended the pilots whose plane crashed in Cork with the loss of six lives.

Noel Hayes flew into Belfast on Thursday evening from Kenya.

He said the air crew followed standard procedures in trying to land three times in thick fog but added that alternative airports had been made available for a diversion.

"It is sadly not unusual in terms of bad weather for aircraft to take three approaches... it is the standard," he said.

The service was operated by Flightline BCN, a company based in Barcelona, Spain, and Mr Hayes added: "I am very confident of the standards and levels in which they operate.

"For us as a business this is the first time we have had an incident like this and it is because of our commitment to passenger safety that this is such a shock that this has happened."

Manx2.com, which was established five years ago, is based in Douglas, Isle of Man. It carries 100,000 passengers a year.

Mr Hayes said it is too soon to say what caused the accident but added that the company is working with investigators and said the aircraft manufacturer is also to assist.

He will be travelling to Cork soon after meeting Belfast City Airport managers.

"Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives and the wounded and our priority is to do everything we can," he said.

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